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April 25 2017

(SPOILER) Discuss Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4x18 "All the Madame's Men". The episode was written by James C. Oliver and Sharla Oliver. It was directed by Billy Gierhart.

Entering the room before Dusk posts spoilers at the top of the page.
A solid entry. The most overt real life jab yet!
Calling it now
Poor guy was just trying to drink his coffee...
"Can you fly?"
OK. I enjoyed that.
So will Madame Hydra wake up when Aida reconnects to the Framework? No fair.
Happy to Comply.
Can someone remind what Bakshi did back in the real MarvelWorld?
Mack, you're living in an underground bunker with a bunch of resistance fighters. I'm thinking telling 'sparkplug' everything will be OK is not a good idea.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2017-04-26 03:17 ]
One of Whitehall's goons. Brainwashed Agent 33 until she and Ward did the same to him. Died saving Ward's life from Simmons' sneak attack.

[ edited by Dusk on 2017-04-26 03:21 ]
I almost forgot the Darkhold's basic power is creating matter out of nothing. Which means it could be used to create an entire world out of nothing. Another data point in favor of the Framework being a real world.
AndrewC just won the internet tonight.
Perhaps its more the Framework becoming a real world than being one.
Are they going to pull a Serenity and release May's body cam footage of Hydra bombing kids?
Why did that guy look familiar?
Which guy?
Uh oh. Framework Fitz has read the Darkhold. That's not good.
All of this just to become a real girl ? Jeez !
This season is going to end up with FitzSimmons faceoff in The Framework to keep AIDA from killing off the real word.
If the Darkhold is made to create worlds, it also forces the people that read it to protect the worlds it creates. Which is why Aida is dedicated to defending the Framework... and now why Fitz is equally dedicated to it. ("This is my home, I'm not going to let you destroy it.")
Think he just followed Ophelia's plan? Did he actually have the book?
I wonder if killing a flesh & blood Madame Hydra will kill Aida.
Dusk, the guy Mack hit when saving May and Daisy.
Might be a Hydra goon in both worlds.

Aida took no damage from the fall, she is likely separate.
Oh the show went there!
Nebula, I doubt it would be that easy to take out Aida. She's got to be backed up 9 ways to Sunday.

Am loving the Serenity move.
That was an amazing Trump reference.
Is this all going to lead to bringing back Ward in the flesh, or will he disappear in some tragic act of self sacrifice, or be victim of digital abandonment?
If Ward gets to come back by Tripp doesn't, I'm calling shenanigans.
OK, guess it's digital abandonment.
Radcliff isn't my favorite either, but why did Daisy leave him?
LOL! Alternative facts.... Damn. The Framework is the real world.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2017-04-26 03:56 ]
Radcliffe is dead in the real world and villain of just a few days ago to Daisy.

What if it's Hydra-Fitz that wakes up from the Framework?!
Radcliffe is going to be given another opportunity to betray the others to serve himself. Will he refuse this time?
Dusk, ugh, what a horrible idea! But if it's the only way to not kill him, I'd go for HydraFitz.
Regardless if Radcliff is dead in the real world. She knows he can still feel pain. She knows he's being tortured just like she was. He also told her how to get out, doing her a giant solid. Leaving him was just a jerk move.
I think Dusk is right.
Hey now I called hydra fitz waking up in the real world two weeks ago!
(In Anya's voice) Yes you did, Grack21.
Well it's the crowing achievement of my life so far!
Well it's the crowing achievement of my life so far!

I must say they did a good job of obscuring what Aida really wanted the most out of the Framework. Even though I as a rule
dislike this sort of plot device this time it has been extremely well done.
I think Fitz will wake up in our world with his original memories back... but still corrupted by the Darkhold. Cue season 5 (hopefully).
Everything in the three arcs is getting all swirly together.
Oh I wouldn't worry at all about season 5. Irrationaltv can fill you in.
It's not officially confirmed either way though preliminary plotting on S5 has started...the networks main season shows will all finish; but the new Writers Strike brewing could effect things if it lasts long enough.
I am cautiously optimistic about S5 if for no other reason that the WGA is likely (imo) to go out on strike and that puts new
shows at a disadvantage imo. Plus the writing has been pretty damn good. Also the 3 pod approach seem like a winner to me.

[ edited by JDL on 2017-04-26 04:44 ]
Am I the only one perversely kind of hoping for a writers' strike because it might finally get us Dr. Horrible 2?
No chance that a strike does that this time since Joss isn't doing TV atm.

[ edited by JDL on 2017-04-26 05:04 ]
The writers have been knocking it out of the park this season. I wish they could hear us sing their praises in four-part harmony on the commentary track of this site!
Joss may not be writing for TV right now, but Maurissa and Jed are.
Nebula that's true but they have a newborn and might relish the sleep more. :)

[ edited by JDL on 2017-04-26 05:01 ]
I wasn't implying they should work during the strike. In fact, I almost posted something about how they probably shouldn't write DH2 if there is a strike. If they work on DH2, it could be seen as a scab production. The first time, it was done to prove the point that online content could be profitable, thus writers should be paid and get residuals for any online content. While odds are it will be an issue this time, too, the point doesn't necessarily need to be made again.

Plus, yeah, for their sakes and the sake of their baby, down time is far preferable.
The thing is that the stars of DH won't be working during a writer's strike either.
Funny thing about the DH thing. My first thought was Doll House not Dr. Horrible. The timing was close to the same iirc.
"Alternative Facts" - sometimes TV can just lift your heart and make it want to sing.,
I wonder if we'll see Fitz's mother at some point. She keeps getting mentioned (contemptuously) as the avatar of everything good in Fitz as opposed to the evil of his father. I don't think we've heard anything either way about whether his mother is alive in the Framework.
If both Fitzes wake up in one body, then we've got Alpha from Dollhouse all over again.
If it also winds up with Fitz having to sacrifice himself to save everyone, it also means Simmons is gone. Either both survive or they don't.
So am I getting this plot straight? Real-world Aida has built-in programming from her LMD origins that prevents her from possessing true free will. Her avatar within the Framework is using FrameWork Fitz to help her engineer the necessary tech (based on Darkhold information) that will allow her to create a real-world body that has no LMD programming... the engineering and design work essentially is being outsourced to the Framework but construction in the real world is handled by the Russian-LMD dude's resources. He's going along with it because he is also promised a new real-world body rather than the LMD he currently occupies.

Then what? Real-world Aida is freed from her LMD constraints, so she gets to do...what? Kill the remaining people that are hooked up to the Framework, fine. After that? Start offering new younger/fitter bodies for rich older/dying people, a la Dollhouse?

The writers/producers and the characters have all invested a lot of time and effort in this storyline. I hope the stakes are higher than just another Pinocchio metaphor.
That's pretty much right as far as what's been revealed so far. I think there's more to it than that, and Aida is truly serving the Darkhold even if she thinks she's just serving herself and her desire to be a Real Girl.
I loved the reveal that Victoria Hand was responsible for the positive trajectory of Framework Ward's life.
I think Fitz knows and doesn't care. Also another strong episode. The show seems strangely liberated.
@tomg, I dunno. Although I still have a lot of issues with this "pod" the idea of wanting the right to your own life and choices is a pretty big deal, IMO. The question becomes though if Aida succeeds and does give herself a real human body, what will they do once she's a person? Will they see her as a person? Is her new body responsible for everything she did while and LMD? What if she wakes up in her new body and doesn't remember a thing she did as an LMD? What's the consequence of the tech making that body? Does someone else die while the new body is being made? (There's got to be something, or they'd use it to bring back the others, like Hope, Trip, and Mace.) The idea of the tech she wants to create is stunning if the framework world is in fact just another reality. You could lose someone, open the door to the other world, find that version of the person you lost and build them a new body and bring them back. I mean, there are all sorts of things they could do with what Aida is doing, so her just wanting to be a real person is only a drop in the bucket of what the story could be.
Watched today, and I wanted to give a shout out to the furniture buying reference, which was a more subtle dig at a certain politician. Also, Coulson's video gave me chills. I love this show!
@javelina: In the real world, Bakshi's job was brainwashing people. In the Framework... well, the same thing. :)

@NYPinTA: It's not like they had much time to go and liberate other prisoners.
I didn't notice until this episode that they gave Fitz the hair of Richard Spencer.
I had to look up Richard Spencer's hair. You are spot on about that, b!X. I knew there was a reason I hated Fitz's haircut!
@TimeTravellingBunny He's not just any prisoner. He's the one that knows what they are planning on doing. Leaving him behind is both a jerk move and a bad one. It's lazy to leave him there just so the bad guys can find out what they are up to. And May and Daisy didn't even hesitate or mention him. He was literally right next door. Daisy could have put a hole in that wall in seconds. There is zero reason to leave him and all the reasons to take him.
@NYPinTA, those are the sorts of stakes that need to be addressed. While there are all sorts of possibilities open to the writers, I'm not altogether confident that they will get there, and I'm not sure that they have enough episodes left to do those issues justice (unless it's all going to be groundwork for Season 5).

I'm assuming that personae who exist only in the Framework, and were constructed only from the memories of scanned people (like Hope and Trip), likely cannot be resurrected into new physical bodies. Since Mace was scanned from his original, presumably his Framework persona could be resurrected into a real-world body (assuming his real-world body really is dead; this has not been confirmed unambiguously), but his memories would be of the altered Framework history rather than the real-world's version of events -- that would be a reverse of the confusion that Daisy and Jemma feel as interlopers inside the Framework but with real-world memories only.

Perhaps this rule won't hold... maybe a real-world Trip could be brought back, but he would not only have only a Framework view of history, but also he'd be incomplete since he was only constructed from the memories of Coulson, Mack, etc. He acts within the Framework according to algorithmic expectations that come from the other characters' memories of him, so it's not clear how such a reconstruction would act with true free will in a new real-world body. Either the algorithms of the Framework would have to come along to fill in the gaps in his persona (in which case, not truly free will), or he'd come to the real world with those personality gaps still intact, and be somewhat less than the original.

There's a lot of ground to cover in a very short span of new episodes.
"While there are all sorts of possibilities open to the writers, I'm not altogether confident that they will get there, and I'm not sure that they have enough episodes left to do those issues justice (unless it's all going to be groundwork for Season 5)."

On this we are in perfect agreement.
@tomg: I've been repeating this in every episode's comments, but here I go again: as per the Voice of God (Jed Whedon's interviews), people in the Framework are not constructed from anyone's memories. They are the exact replica of who they were in the real world (except for the ripple effects of the changes). The Darkhold gave Aida the ability to create a perfect duplicate of the real world.

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2017-04-27 21:25 ]

[ edited by TimeTravellingBunny on 2017-04-27 22:53 ]
@TTB: point taken... with the caveat that these sorts of plot points, if truly necessary to an understanding of the story, should be conveyed by the screenwriters through actions and dialogue, not after-the-telecast interviews from some online source. An in-story, ambiguous reference to the latest iteration of the Book of Thoth is not sufficient IMO.

Aida (or her avatar perhaps) described the Framework's reality as the result of algorithms, presumably with some starting point in the real time of the real world -- fork off the copy into the Framework, make the tweaks, and start the program. That starting point had to have been sufficiently far in the past to predate Coulson's original enlistment in SHIELD (assuming that is the point in time when his regret was 'fixed'). If I recall correctly, the Framework was up and operational (with Agnes already inside) before Coulson was even scanned. Given how massive was the butterfly effect of that change, the glitch in the matrix when regretless-Coulson was inserted might have changed a mewing black cat into the MGM lion.

tl;dr summary of the above: I am now even less confident that the writers will do justice to these potential storylines.
@tomg: I imagine it went something like this: Aida created the Framework world, then they plugged May into it and she fixed her biggest regret - in this version, she never kills Katya (as we saw in 4.11). This change brings about a massive butterfly effect and Hydra comes into power in this reality, around 2008. This would be Framework Timeline 1. She then later plugs Agnes into the Framework - but as far as we know, she only changes Agnes having a deadly tumor, and Radcliffe plugs himself occasionally on his own free will to have a happy life with Agnes inside the Framework. We can call it Framework Timeline 2, but it's almost the same as FW Timeline 1, only Agnes and Radliffe now happily live in it.

About a month after plugging May in, they capture Coulson, Mack, Mace and Fitz and plug them into the Framework, after Aida has scanned their brains and fixed their biggest regrets, and then rebooted the system. Under the assumption that she fixed all of their regrets at the same time and then rebooted the system, this is Framework Timeline 3, where Coulson is a civilian, Mack is living a quite life with his daughter, Mace is the Inhuman Resistance leader, Fitz was raised by his father, FrameWard has a different history with Hand as his mentor, etc. Then Aida kills Radcliffe in the real world and traps him inside the Framework, and creates a virtual avatar for herself as Madame Hydra, so she can use the Framework to feel emotions and be a real girl. This is Framework Timeline 4, which is very similar to Timeline 3, except with Madame Hydra as the head of Hydra, the most powerful person in the world, and Fitz' lover.

Each time when Aida makes a new change, she reboots the system and everyone's memories change accordingly, producing the ripple effects on the events and their personalities that those events would have in an alternative timeline.

Aida was going to do the same when she captured Daisy and Simmons and fixed their regrets (obviously, she would have to first change something to make Simmons alive again - maybe have her not be at the SHIELD Academy that day, or not go to SHIELD Academy, or have her survive). But since they hacked in, that did not happen, so what we see in the Framework now is the Timeline 4.

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